Indy Car Racing - A Sport I Care About

I don't know a lot of people who care about racing as a sport and I'm not going to defend my love of the sport; it's what I grew up with. But for the one or two of you who might like racing, read on. One of the analysts at SpeedTV, Robin Miller, has what he calls, The Open Wheel Mailbag. Fans email him questions and rants. He then chooses some and responds to them online at speedtv.com. He has posted some of my emails in the past. Last week I sent him a rave. He responded to me but I don't know if he will put his response online in the next Open Wheel Mailbag or not. I read my email to Dee and she thought I should put it up here on my blog so here it is with Robin Miller's response at the end.

OK, so I just read, "INDYCAR: 2012 Stampede Under Way" on speedtv.com. How could my frustrations reach any higher levels? Look at all the possibilities! To think that we could see so many different chassis if only… If only we didn't already know that there is no way this can happen. Just the very idea that these possibilities are out there and yet knowing that as sure as the sun will rise again tomorrow at 16th & Georgetown the best case scenario is that the brain trust at the IRL will only allow us to ever see one of these cars ever perform is almost too much to bear. One of Swift's new cars even looks like a modern day version of Mickey Thompson's 1964 cars. (See it at www.16thandgeorgetown.com.) It's been so long since we've had any competition in Indy cars. I'm talking about competition between engine and chassis builders. I had forgotten just how much excitement that adds to the sport. And with all the announcements this week it kills me that there is no longer an open wheel racing association in this country that even allows, let alone promotes, such competition. Hello, the word is COMPETITION. Isn't that what racing is???

I'm sorry but this just has my blood boiling. Whatever happened to free enterprise and capitalism? This is un-American. Look, open the track, let the chassis and engine builders present their wares, let the owners choose what they want or build their own. It's obvious the creativity is out there. It's what Americans do; build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your doorstep. That's what I was taught when I was a kid. In a free market, capitalistic society, the market always finds it's own levels. If this sport can't be open to any and all comers then what's the point. Look what happened to the STP turbine car. It was built according to the rules. The rules also promised that any car built within the rules was guaranteed the right to race for three years. So what did USAC do? They changed their own rules and effectively made the turbine un-racable, which was against their own rules. So I guess this has been coming for a long time. If the sport gets too expensive the solution is NOT to make more rules and restrictions. The answer is capitalism. If your cars are to expensive or can't make it to victory lane, then there's somebody out there who can build one that is affordable and will win. Or maybe you can build your own. I hadn't even thought about how political this whole thing has gotten but now I see it.

Just like the answer to national healthcare is not to put the government in control but to let real market pressures dictate what people want and will pay for, the same is true for auto racing. If there's no interest in the cars, (or the drivers, but that's another rant), nobody is going to watch. If necessary, let the IRL wilt and die. If people want competition, somebody will step in and fill the need. Somebody will tell Swift, Dallara, Chip Ganassi, Roger Penske, and anybody who wants to get into the competition, "Come one, come all, let the best team win!" Let's see who builds the best engines; Ford, Chevy, Chrysler, VW, Mazda (think "rotary"), Cummins (diesel), G.E. (electric motors), Joe Shmoe (atomic powered thing-a-majig from a UFO found in the dessert of Roswell, New Mexico)—"run what ya brung!" Who makes the best tires? Let's find out on the race track.

This is such a tease. So many options never to be allowed. Oh, yeah, now I remember. I thought I was simply a race fan but I was really a fan of competition. Now I know why I'm so bored with both the IRL and NASCAR. Let there be competition or let the sport die a natural death.

Whew!

Breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, …

Jim Patton,

Lindale, TX

Jim:

You make several excellent points that are shared by many of us but as long as Brainless Brian Barnhart is in charge, we're hosed into a spec series. He must be replaced.

robin

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